North Korea Will Send Athletes To Pyeongchang Games After Meeting With South Korea
North Korea will send a "high-level delegation including athletes, a cheering squad and performing arts groups" to next month's Pyeongchang Games following a three-hour face-to-face meeting between leaders of North and South Korea, according to CBS' Ben Tracy. South Korean officials "asked that the two march together at the Opening and Closing ceremonies." The overnight meeting represents a "fairly stunning turn of events when you think that the South has been trying to engage the North for months." CBS' Gayle King notes despite reaching an agreement on some of the Olympics-based topics, tensions "persist over the nuclear threat" from North Korea ("CBS This Morning," 1/9). NBC's Bill Neely reports the talks between the two sides are "highly unusual" and represent a "breakthrough that goes beyond sport." However, these meetings were "more about figure skating than nuclear weapons." NBC's Hoda Kotb notes this is a "stunning development with the Opening Ceremony exactly one month away" ("Today," NBC, 1/9). ABC's Martha Raddatz reports the agreement represents to South Korea an "insurance policy that Kim Jong-un won't disrupt the Games." President Trump "has said he welcomed these talks between the North and South about the Olympic Games" ("GMA," ABC, 1/9). "CBS This Morning" led its broadcast with news of the North-South meeting, while it was the second story on both "Today" and "GMA" after brief reports on the CFP title game (THE DAILY).
HISTORIC SPORTS DEVELOPMENT: In N.Y., Choe Sang-Hun reports North Korea's participation is a "historic development in inter-Korean sports exchanges," as North Korea not only shunned the '88 Seoul Games but also "tried to disrupt them after talks on co-hosting them fell apart." It was not clear whether North Korea "attached any conditions to its decision to attend." South Korean officials "still must nail down the travel route, lodging and other logistics of a North Korean Olympic delegation." North Korea "has traditionally sent only a small delegation" to the Winter Games and has "never won a gold medal at them" (NYTIMES.com, 1/8). USA TODAY's Thomas Maresca notes the last time "both countries marched together under the same flag" was during the '06 Turin Games, and North Korea "didn't participate" in the '14 Sochi Games. North Korea likely would send "figure skating pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik ... who qualified after capturing a bronze medal" in February '17 at the Asian Winter Games. The IOC also has indicated that it "would consider wild card entries for North Korean athletes" (USATODAY.com, 1/9). An agreement on North Korea's participation "had been widely expected before the talks began, but the Koreas remain sharply at odds over how to improve their overall ties" (AP, 1/9).